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When every minute counts

After a deadly tornado outbreak, a fast response and personal service make all the difference
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Insurance coverage is something we all know we should have, especially when living in a part of the country where natural disasters are more prone to occur.
But until a catastrophe actually happens, many of us tend to relegate our insurance policies to the back of a file cabinet and push the details to the back of our minds.
Fortunately for FCCI policyholders, it’s reassuring to know the company is 100% prepared and ready to act when needed. A fast response, personal service and care are the cornerstones that differentiate FCCI from all of its competitors.
“It’s just part of our culture at FCCI,” says Jason Aiello, Supervisor, Business Development, based in Bloomington-Normal, Illinois. “It’s interwoven into everything we do. With customer service, we’re trained to always give that little extra. With our claim service, we’re known for being prompt and understanding with how we settle cases and losses.”

A good example, according to Jason, is the speed and efficiency with which FCCI responded when a deadly tornado outbreak occurred during the night of December 10 –11, 2021. A supercell thunderstorm produced a family of 71 tornadoes, including some rated EF4s, which swept mostly through northeastern Arkansas, Missouri, western Tennessee and western Kentucky. When the sun rose the next morning, the devastation was immense. In some areas, entire communities were destroyed and more than 88 people had lost their lives.
“I received a text at 2:30 a.m. from our agent partner Brad Bolinger with Higgins Insurance in Hopkinsville, Kentucky,” Jason recalls. “He said there had been a catastrophic event and that I should call him when the sun came up. I knew we had to move fast.”
Brad picks up the story here. “The next morning, I said, ‘Jason, there’s been carnage. I mean, it’s bad, really bad. We’re probably going to need to get a cat (catastrophe) team involved. What do I need to do?’”
At that point, things kicked into high gear. Just after speaking with Brad, Jason was on the phone to Josh Newell, FCCI’s Director of Agribusiness Underwriting. Josh then made an urgent call to the Home Office in Sarasota, Florida, where he spoke with Wayne Camp-Bell, Director of Property Claims, and described the extent of what had happened. Wayne conveyed the news to Garth Crow, Chief Claim Officer. Tracy Stoeckel, Senior Vice President of Agribusiness, was also notified. The FCCI team was fully engaged.
“With customer service, we’re trained to always give that little extra.”
— Jason Aiello Supervisor, Business Development
Meanwhile, Brad Bolinger was quickly gathering all of the information on the policyholders that were involved. “I was getting policy numbers, contact information, spreadsheets, you name it, and I sent it to Wayne. He’s already contacting the FCCI field claim adjusters. That’s when Chuck Street entered the picture.”
Chuck Street, FCCI Property General Adjuster, was immediately assigned and deployed to handle this event. Based in FCCI’s Southwest Region near Dallas, his role was to be “boots on the ground” where the Quad-State tornado outbreak had occurred. By Monday morning, he was on an early plane bound for Nashville.
“I landed there, rented a car, drove straight up to Pembroke, Kentucky, and by 11:00 a.m, I was meeting with Brad from Higgins Insurance,” Chuck recalls. “Brad is from that area and knows it well, so we rode together to meet with the various policyholders who had suffered losses. Interestingly, one of those was the Bolinger Family Farm, a 4,000+ acre farm actually owned by Brad’s family. They had suffered quite a bit of damage.”
Chuck continues, “We did this for three or four days. Brad would show me where houses, barns and grain storage bins had been, and I’d do a walk-through, take photos from the ground or from my drone, write up a scope sheet of what was damaged or destroyed, and enter it into my iPad. I’d explain to the policyholders what would happen next, and whether we might need to get an engineer or someone else involved.”
This type of field claim adjusting requires extensive training, accuracy and an understanding of how to empathize and work with people on a variety of levels. FCCI adjusters are truly experts in all of this. They know that claimants usually have two questions – how much will they receive for the loss they’ve incurred, and when will they receive the check?
“This was a significant event and, by Tuesday, I probably had 70 structures with damage to them and was fielding quite a few questions,” says Alec Harmer, FCCI Property General Adjuster, who was working remotely and handling some of the larger claims by phone. “The great part is that we closed 75% of the claims before the end of the year. And all of this was going on at the same time as Christmas and New Year’s.”
“From the claim side,
I’d give FCCI a 10 out of 10, without a doubt.”
— Rob Turner Agent Producer
Rob Turner is another agent producer who is impressed with FCCI’s rapid response and its kind attitude toward people. He works for Harbor Insurance Agency in Hopkinsville.
“The FCCI adjusters were on-site here within 48 hours, which is really pretty remarkable,” Rob marvels. “And as far as an advance, I believe that initial payments were issued within three days to some of the impacted policyholders.”
What about FCCI’s reputation for being such a people-oriented company that cares about every single relationship?
“Oh, definitely,” enthuses Rob. “I was working with an FCCI claim adjuster named Matt Raab. Great guy. We’d go through the claim process and get all the details worked out, and pretty soon it became a friendly back-and-forth on our emails. He was good about keeping up with the claim flow and, even now, I’ll get an email from him every few days about where we are on one claim or another.”
Rob added, “From the claim side, I’d give FCCI a 10 out of 10, without a doubt. They’ve done everything we’d expected and asked, and more, and they’re still here ready to close every claim that’s needed. We’re very happy with them and the value that they give to our agency. We also feel like representing FCCI gives additional value to us, and we’re certainly proud to represent them.”
Fast response, personal caring, and a commitment to serving those in need – FCCI takes pride in its promise to always do the right thing.